Cranford is the best-known novel of the 19th century English writer Elizabeth Gaskell. It was first published in 1851 as a serial in the magazine Household Words, which was edited by Charles Dickens.
The fictional town of Cranford is closely modelled on Knutsford in Cheshire, which Mrs Gaskell knew well. The book has little in the way of plot and is more a series of episodes in the lives of Mary Smith and her friends, Miss Matty and Miss Deborah, two spinster sisters. The "major" event in the story is the return to Cranford of their long-lost brother, Peter, which in itself is only a minor portion of the work... (Summary by Wikipedia)
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October 10, 2012
Wonderful book, maddening reader
Cranford is one of the greatest English short novels ever penned. Its humour is altogether delightful, the characterisations are beautifully drawn, and the pace is much brisker than other novels of the 19th century. It is filled with charm and lovingly related domestic incident--a kind of Victorian precursor of the comic novels of E. F. Benson. Unfortunately the reader here gallops along at such breakneck speed that almost all the nuances of the humour are lost, often garbled. She reads so quickly that she often fails to distinguish between a "Miss" and a "Mrs." I had to follow along with a print copy and found that when I got a page turned, the reader was already two sentences ahead of me. I do hope that someone else will record this novel with the care and delicacy with which it should be treated.